We know that software has been a primary driver of huge gains in business efficiency with technology enabling business intelligence and transformation.
For example, ERP implementations of business systems software have been a cornerstone of many business transformation programs. Another example could be .Net framework in building another generation of applications and web services enabling real-time data capture and sharing thus enhancing business intelligence.
So no doubt technology has been a tremendous enabler and accelerator making it “easier” to accomplish business initiatives.
But should we be careful of what it enables to happen? ... And be careful of the destination it accelerates us too! Could it be there are ways that software makes it too easy to encounter risk and danger for the business?
What are the dangers of easy? Here are some actual business project situations:
The solution engineer was taking the software through its paces in the solution demo showing the group how much easier it was to accomplish a job and accelerate the business data flow for more timely information resulting in accelerated enterprise decisions and results; drill-downs, dashboards and savings – Oh My!...certainly impressive, looked easy.
But how much planning, man-days, and money does it take to get to that “easy” for your business? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking it. Business tasks can look easy in the software demos and what you see is truly what the software can do – but then when you install the software in your business it can soon become all too apparent there is “something more” the software needs before things become “easy”.
Just saying, make sure you know, or you have someone as your advisor who knows, the right and insightful questions to ask so that you get the entire landscape of all the background requirements, data cleansing or development work, configuration and testing, including the full measure of time, resources and dollars necessary, that is required to go into setting that software up, all the hard stuff, so that these things the software can do are “easy”. I’ve been there many times talking with many customers after the purchase helping them do the unexpected and get to that easy.
We’re running out of time! Our go-live date is only so many months away and we’ve already extended it once. But look, here are these software functions that once they are easily integrated into our system will make it easier for people in the field to capture critical business data at point of service delivery and report it. And then with the program timeline clock ticking and with finding these seemingly very well-described functional application development components, the software was quickly procured for the team.
Unfortunately, after the business project was delayed near a year with functional bugs not meeting the functional requirements, the lesson learned again is to always vet all software purchases through the paces of an appropriate assessment and selection process to ensure meeting necessary business & functional requirements so that promises can be met.
These software bolt-ons are awesome! …and will condense our development cycle and give us so much more functionality; and all we have to do is go to the company’s internet website and there easily download it - with just a few clicks of the mouse. And sure enough, after just a few clicks, including the clicking the “accept” box on the terms and conditions, these really neat bolt-ons for the software were purchased, downloaded and utilized; and the developed application was rolled out into the enterprise.
But then when the invoice came from that software company with the easy internet downloads, it was soon realized by the business that when the “accept” box on the terms and conditions was clicked on by someone, the business had given them the right to decide what type of license you had by their definition of use, and unfortunately in this case, they termed them as “full perpetual enterprise licenses” which carried a hefty price tag.
So yea, internet web apps make it easy with quick downloads and instant utilization that can produce instant gratification and results – but be careful what someone clicks on! It can mean your corporate legal counsel can rue the day and not be able to position out of it. It can cost millions of unplanned dollars, and I’m not making this up. Ensure that software purchases go through the appropriate procurement process so that terms and conditions agreed to is what you really want to sign up for and that a business line, department, or critical program is not making some silo’d decision.
There are dangers of technology making it easier that can have repercussions and can bring the cut of that double-edged sword.
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